By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
In 1937, when Eugenio Plummer sold a piece of his rancho to the county government for Plummer Park, it was with the caveat that anything built there reflect the Spanish Revival style, according to West Hollywood resident Brian Rubinstein, who owns the apartment building closest to Fiesta Hall.
The rancho-style Great Hall was built in 1938 — a historic building that will be entirely demolished by the West Hollywood City Council. Then, in 1949, Gogerty built Fiesta Hall to complement it. His design blends with the attractive apartment buildings on nearby Vista Street, which date to 1929.
In 1950, the county Board of Supervisors produced a small booklet, still found in the L.A. Central Library, stating, "We hold it our sacred trust to preserve and pass on to succeeding generations the rich heritage of this Early California rancho."
But Eugenio Plummer couldn't have foreseen that, in a future city called West Hollywood, a crop of politicians would follow an aggressive development stance that emphasizes big buildings with trendy looks.
Fiesta Hall was rededicated on March 19, 1990, two weeks before Gogerty died. Sitting on the City Council were Abbe Land and John Heilman, who have held their City Council seats for a combined 44 years (West Hollywood has no term limits). Land and Heilman now are helping lead the push to morph Fiesta Hall into an ultramodern architectural statement.
Four years ago, then-mayor Heilman declared that he would "work hard to preserve the historic and scenic assets of West Hollywood." The occasion was the naming of West Hollywood as a "Distinctive Destination" by the National Trust for Historic Preservation,
But then, in January 2010, a city assessment of Fiesta Hall declared that it was "neither representative nor distinctive enough to be eligible for listing in the California Register," though it was eligible to be named a city cultural resource because it "exemplifies special characteristics of the city's architectural history."
Soon after, at an April 2010 meeting, Planning Commission Vice Chairman Marc Yeber — recently reappointed to the commission by Land — listened to a passionate plea from Hollywood Heritage to save Great Hall and Fiesta Hall. Though at times sympathetic, Yeber responded: "I'm a firm believer that our city is not intended to be an architectural petting zoo."
Gogerty is no longer around to plead his case. But his distant cousin, comedian-singer Megan Gogerty, remarks: "Surely, with all the creative minds at work here, there must be some way to meet the needs of the community in a way that enhances the character of cousin Henry's design, rather than trampling over it."
See the renderings at laweekly.com.
I am so tired of seeing the names of John Heilman & Abbe Land as the push behind most of the controvesial projects; for all intents & purposes, we seem to have a city council of two, the others too timid and lacking in leadership skills to take the city in the direction the people have always wanted and expected. The last time I tried to figure it out, 3 is the majority of 5, not 2. I'm still hoping the change we need has begun with the 2011 election, but we need alot more changes on this city council. We need term limits as it seems none of these people are electable to higher office and are unwilling to give up their positions of local power & influence (and in some cases corruption and personal ego trips) and move on with their lives, keeping our city in the chokehold of their pesonal power trip, much to our detriment. Once the character and distinction of West Hollywood has been destroyed, there is no going back. t
west hollywood city council once again ignores area residents and votes to bulldoze a historic building and build a out of place monument to themselves.
WeHo pols are out of control - a $125M bond is paying for their antics. A bond is a loan and must be serviced and repaid. How will they repay it - "tax increments", The Plummer Park destruction is wrong and for the 69 new parking spaces they will achieve (and I doubt this is a high revenue source) will destroy Eugenio Plummer's gift to us. No term limits breed Boss Tweeds and Tammany Halls. No more spending or demolition. And I have heard chatter about naming rights - $5M offered was turned down. Someone wants their name up instead.
Thank you for this article and for your comments and the story of what is going on. I am one of the PPP people who find the plan sickening. Again thank you for speaking up on the matter